Shawnee High School To Honor Standouts Blandford And Ranson

Former Shawnee High School standout athletes Ken Blandford and Paul Ranson will be honored between the Redskins' boys and girls varsity homecoming basketball games which are scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 17.

Blandford was a standout in football. Ranson will be honored for his achievements on the basketball court.

The girls play Century at 5  p.m.  Blandford and Ranson will be honored immediately following the game and prior to the boys' game against Joppa.

Awards presented to the former athletes will be on display at the high school.

One of the original football helmets the team played with and the basketball that broke a record will be on display.

Blandford set an Illinois high school record for the most points scored in a football game in an 86-6 win over Carbondale in a game which was played on Oct. 28, 1955.

He scored 60 points, which included 10 touchdowns while rushing for 370 yards.

In a nine-game season, Blandford scored 29 TDs and an extra point and had a net total of 1,446 yards rushing on 144 carrries.

Blandford was nicknamed "Horse" by his teammates because of the way he ran over his opponents.

He was the recipient of the State of Illinois scoring title with 175 points that year. He was also named the most valuable football player at the school and was voted first team Little All-State in Illinois.

He was recruited to play football by Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Arkansas State and Ohio State. Due to the death of his father, Blandford was unable to accept scholarships and had to remain home to manage the family farm.

Blandford lettered in football, basketball and baseball at Shawnee. He was a licensed Illinois High School Association official in baseball, softball and basketball for 20 years.

Shawnee High School discontinued football in 1959.

Currently, he is the mayor of Jonesboro.

Ranson holds the record for scoring the most points in one basketball game at Shawnee High School. He had 49 points in the Redskins' 89-62 win over Cairo in 1960.

Ranson lettered in basketball, baseball, track and football at Shawnee.

In basketball, he averaged 16.21 rebounds a game. He was named athlete of the year in all sports at Shawnee.

He had a basketball scholarship to the University of Dayton in Ohio.

He later transferred to Southeast Missouri State University at Cape Girardeau. He was fourth as an all-time leader in rebounds at the school. Ranson recorded 29 rebounds in a single game played on Dec. 8, 1961, against MacMurray College of Lebanon.

At Southeast Missouri State, he earned most valuable player, first-team all conference,  and all-tournament team honors in the Southwestern Regional tournament. Ranson finished his collegiate career averaging 13.1 points per game.

Ranson, who is now living in Greenville, is a retired school teacher and basketball coach. He will be unable to attend the upcoming ceremony because of an illness. Ranson's wife, Sue, and children will receive the honors on behalf her husband.

Former Shawnee athletes who were also members of Blandford's and Ranson's teams are invited to attend the presentation.

A hospitality room is planned on homecoming at Shawnee High School at Wolf Lake as part of the activities to honor the two former athletes.

There will be a hospitality room at the high school for the former athletes to honor their achievements.

For further information about the upcoming event, contact Gary Rendleman at 614-4642.


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